A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Health Disparities Bill Advances in State Legislature

Yesterday,  the legislature's Committee on Health Care Financing approved  H. 2048 / S. 608 An Act to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the Commonwealth. The bill now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee. Its lead sponsors include Representatives Jeffrey Sánchez and Byron Rushing, and Senator Jason Lewis. Health Care For All has long supported this legislation ever since we helped draft the original bill in 2009 with a broad coalition of disparities advocates in our Disparities Action Network. Read more »

Two Bills Each Pass One Branch - Health Disparities; and No Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners

Two important bills each passed one branch of the state legislature last week. Now it's up to the other branch to finish the job. First is legislation addressing racial and ethnic health disparities. On March 20, H. 3888 passed the House and was sent to the Senate. Read more »

HCFA Among Health and Civic Leaders Seeking to Extend Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund

Health Care For All is among more than 200 health and social service organizations and leaders who signed on to a letter yesterday requesting the reauthorization of the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) before the funding expires in June of 2017.  The PWTF was established by the legislature in 2012 as a part of Chapter 224 with the aim of reducing health care costs by investing in prevention for chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma. Services supported by this Fund are available to nearly one million Massachusetts residents in all areas of the state through nine community... Read more »

House Passes Bill Creating Office of Health Equity

The Massachusetts House of Representatives today took a major step to address health disparities by passing legislation creating an Office of Health Equity. The bill passed by an overwhelming 152 to 4 vote. The bill (H. 3969) has been a long-time priority for Health Care For All. It creates an Office of Health Equity within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), charged with creating an annual plan for the elimination of health disparities in Massachusetts and working with other state agencies, including agencies dealing with housing, transportation, public safety and... Read more »

Still More To Do: Blue Cross Foundation Report Shows Public Coverage In Mass Not As Good As Private [Updated]

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation released a report authored by Sharon K. Long and Thomas H. Dimmock of the Urban Institute that analyzes the 2013 Massachusetts Reform Survey by comparing the experience of adults with employer-sponsored insurance coverage (ESI) to adults with public coverage, mostly MassHealth, but some with Connector-sponsored coverage. Read more »

Two Upcoming Meetings: Western Mass Health Equity Summit; and MPHA Annual Meeting

Two wothwhile events coming up: First up, this Thursday, is the Western Massachusetts Health Equity Summit:  Read more »

Will There Be A "The Final Countdown" For Health Care This Year?

The Massachusetts formal legislative session ends every even-numbered year on July 31. So this Thursday is the last chance to pass major legislation before the session ends for the year (of course, there's still opportunities to pass non-controversial matters by unanimous consent in the informal sessions that will continue all year). Read more »

Health Disparities Bill Advancing in House

  The State House News Service reported on Friday that the House Ways and Means Committee is voting on legislation to create a permanent Office of Health Equity within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Read more »

Senate Budget Debate Starts Wednesday - Here's Our Amendment Recommendations

Tomorrow the state Senate will begin debating its version of the state budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins on July 1. Like the House budget did, the Senate Ways and Means version starts out with a strong commitment to building on the state's health coverage reforms through implementation of the ACA, and some substantial deficiencies in funding for health care programs. The best overview of the Senate budget comes, of course, from the Mass Budget and Policy Center. The overview notes the continued decline in support for public health: Read more »

People With Disabilities And Others: Please Fill Out This Survey From Mass DPH

[From Mass DPH:] Help influence health care in Massachusetts. The Health and Disability Program, part of Office of Health Equity at the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) is conducting a health needs survey for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. The Office of Health Equity promotes the health and well being of minority populations, including people with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth. Results from the survey will be used to determine how best to address the current public health needs of the disability community. Read more »

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